Japan's Chubu Electric to apply for nuclear plant safety approval

TOKYO Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:50am EDT

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Chubu Electric Power Co said on Wednesday it will apply for safety approvals of the No. 4 reactor at its sole Hamaoka nuclear plant by the end of March 2014, aiming to restart the facility which was shut after the Fukushima crisis due to fears it was vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis.

Japan's third-biggest utility, serving the heart of Japan's auto industry in central Japan, shut the Hamaoka plant, located in a higly earthquake-prone region 200 km (120 miles) southwest of Tokyo, in May 2011 at the government's request.

Clearance of stringent safety standards introduced by the regulator after the Fukushima disaster would bring Chubu Electric a step closer to restarting the No. 4 reactor, although it would still face a major obstacle in getting approval from the local community. All of Japan's nuclear power plants are currently idle, most due to routine maintenance, and face community opposition to restarts.

(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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